low sound volume with hi-resolution files

Hopefully this is the right forum to post this question.

Normally there will be enough sound volume output when my BHK Pre is between 30-40. However, for some hi-resolution files I downloaded, I need to raise to between 45-50 to get enough sound volume. Any reason?


The high resolution files may be better quality with less dynamic compression. This means the overall level will be lower, but there will be greater difference between soft and loud on the recording. Thus, these files need to be played at a higher overall volume level.

zheng4, I have the same experience, and Elk’s explanation is almost certainly correct. The higher volume settings are typically needed with music that one would expect to have a wider dynamic range, such as orchestral music or organ music.

The trouble is that the background noise level was noticeably higher when the BHK preamp was close to 50.

Yes, any noise in your system will be more apparent with a higher volume level. It appears it is time to focus on getting rid of the noise.

I assume this noise is present with no music playing, yes?

Is it present with every source?

Is it a hum, or a white noise-like hiss?

Yes, the noise is there without music. I think it’s mostly white noise-like hiss. The noise level was a little lower after turning off the DS DAC Jr, almost gone after turning off the BHK Preamp. Also the Melco N1A and the phono amp did not seem to contribute much to the noise level.

Have you tried a different set of tubes? Could just be the tubes you have in there. Although I seem to remember reading a post that said they settled on a little hiss because the overall sound was better. But I am not sure if that was about the preamp or the amps.

Either call the PSA guys or Kevin Deal at Upscale, to get a recommendation. My old tube preamp always had a little tube hiss, but I had to be right up near the speakers to hear it. When I got the CT-5 it was obvious how much lower the noise floor was.

I have not tried a different set of tubes for my BHK Pre, will wait until enough burn-in time.

Hi @zheng4 - are you using RCA (single ended) or XLR (balanced) cables in your system. I find that one added benefit of XLR cables is the overall reduction of noise, especially system ‘hiss’.